April 18, 2012

Spit killed the cigar!

Cigars used to be the cool thing for men to smoke. But back in the 1920s, the cigar industry ran into a problem: Spit!

You see, many fine cigars were hand-rolled by men like the guy above. And to get the cigar to hold together, they ran a bit of spit along the edge of the paper. This history lays it out:

The cigar industry faced a crisis when American Tobacco began promoting new, machine-rolled cigars. Its advertising asked: "Why run the risk of cigars made by dirty yellowed fingers and tipped in spit?" The image proved disastrous for the cigar industry . . . cigar sales plunged through the 1930s [and never recovered.]" (Thanks to Weird Universe for the tip!)

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